Green Party candidate Metiria Turei said her party would tackle housing issues by building thousands of new homes that were affordable to rent or buy by low income families.
‘‘Housing is a human right. No society can function if wha¯nau have cold damp housing or are forced to live in cars and garages where their kids get so sick.’’
She said every family needed a warm, dry and safe home to live and raise their families in, and the Greens would work with iwi, hapu¯ , community groups and councils to achieve that goal.
‘‘We will bring in Progressive Ownership, a new rent to buy scheme to help families move from renting to owning,’’ Turei said.
Under the scheme, every rental home would have to meet a comprehensive WOF and the party would extend the IRRS so more families could afford to rent houses that were safe for their children.
‘‘We will improve the rights of renters for more stable and long term renting, so everyone has a secure home,’’ she said.
Ma¯ori Party candidate Mei Reedy-Taare said her party would invest improving the health and social outcomes of housing, such as investing in insulating low income homes and ensuring Housing New Zealand (HNZ) homes had extra rooms to address over-crowding.
Reedy-Taare said adequate housing was a determinant of health and social outcomes.
‘‘We will establish a Housing Sector Committee within the first three months of the next Parliament to co-design a 25 year government enabled housing strategy that builds on He Whare A¯ huru and addresses the entire housing spectrum,’’ Reedy-Taare said.
As well as supporting iwi and community led projects growing the number of social housing developments, Reedy-Taare said the party would explore the viability of transferring a proportion of ownership of state housing to Ma¯ori housing providers, hapu¯ and iwi.
‘‘We will prioritise a review of the rental sector to ensure that wha¯ nau have access to suitable, habitable homes and tenure security at a fair price,’’ she said.
National’s Andrew Falloon said his party was making it easier for Kiwis to access housing through the HomeStart programme.
‘‘We’re providing significant grants to home buyers, helping 5,316 families in Canterbury get into their first home in the last two years.’’
House build rates were at the highest levels in a decade, Falloon said, with another 100,000 homes in the pipeline over the next three years.
‘‘National have provided subsidies to families to insulate their homes, resulting in more than 290,000 private homes insulated, with more on the way. We’ve insulated every state house in the country that can be insulated, completing more than 30,000 houses. Together with new requirements for landlords to insulate their properties, we’ve ensured more than 500,000 older homes are warmer, drier and safer.’’
But Labour’s Jo Luxton pointed to data from the 2013 census which showed that between 2006 and 2013 home ownership in the Ashburton District had fallen by five percent, the largest decline in the country.
‘‘I worry that more young people are being shut out of the housing market. Labour believes housing is a right. Everyone deserves to live in a warm, dry home that doesn’t make you sick.’’
Luxton said her party would build more affordable houses to give more people the chance to own their own home while also lifting rental standards.
‘‘Off-shore speculators will not be able to buy our houses, instead they must build and add to existing stock. Labour will stop the sell off of our state houses and build more to assist our most vulnerable.’’
Green Party candidate Mojo Mathers said her party would help New Zealanders get into their own homes by making new homes available to families and disabled people on low incomes on a progressive rent-to-buy basis.
Mathers said that despite New Zealand being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, families were sleeping in cars, under bridges and in garages.
‘‘This requires an urgent and direct response from the Government. The Green Party will build hundreds of state homes to help tackle the housing crisis,’’ Mathers said.
ACT’s Tom Corbett agreed that many more houses were needed and said his was the only party that would scrap planning laws which had ‘‘held home buyers to ransom’’.
‘‘ACT wants to take development of housing in our big cities out of the Resource Management Act (RMA) while land supply has remained static. The RMA continues to grow. It started off 400 pages long; it is now 900 pages, council plans are too big to even be printed,’’ Corbett said.
He said cities needed dedicated urban development legislation to prioritise housing supply and tip the balance in favour of providing enough houses to keep the price at a sensible level.
‘‘Right now the housing market is heavily restricted despite claims that it has been ‘left to the free market’. The restricted supply of new land and consenting of new buildings has severely constrained the supply and created high prices.’’
TOP’s Olly Wilson said inequality had been rising primarily due to the high cost of housing compared to average income resulting in increased crime, poverty and mental illness.
He said TOP proposed closing the tax loophole with asset tax reform resulting in the average household being $2000 better off per year.
‘‘This will control house prices allowing wages to catch up allowing prosperity to be built on a foundation of fairness. The regions will pay less tax encouraging regional productivity and population growth.’’
TOP would expand social housing with affordable rentals, improved insulation and energy efficiency along with a rental WOF. Wilson said those changes would help reduce the costs of healthcare, crime, welfare, child poverty and mental illness.